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- Law and order
Banking protocol success.
Criminals have been stopped from fraudulently withdrawing around £13 million from bank accounts, according to a new report into serious organised crime in Scotland
The report, published by the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce, also details programmes established to divert young people away from a life of crime and an online training resource which helps identify the signs of serious organised crime.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, who chairs the Taskforce meetings, said:
“The Taskforce partners have delivered a wide range of activities to tackle serious organised crime – contributing to a safer, fairer and more prosperous country. Among the successes has been the implementation of the Banking Protocol which has been adopted by most of the major banks operating in Scotland.
“Banking staff have prevented more than £13 million from being withdrawn from the accounts of often older or vulnerable people. These incidents tended to centre around conning people into withdrawing their money or paying excessive amounts for work that was not needed or was of poor standard. And in some cases these people have been accompanied at the bank by a member of the group in a bid to get the money.
“The report underlines the continuing grip organised criminals have on some of our most disadvantaged communities and we are determined to do all that we can to make Scotland a hostile environment for anyone who seeks to exploit others.”
Alasdair Macfarlane, Head of Fraud Prevention and Response at Royal Bank of Scotland, said:
“These types of scams have a devastating impact on our customers’ lives and that’s why our branch colleagues are trained to identify and help prevent these crimes. Working in collaboration with Police Scotland we are disrupting these criminals. However, customers should always be aware that we, nor the police, will ever ask a customer to transfer money to a safe account and if asked to do so they should call us on a trusted number and preferably on a different phoneline.”
Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Angela McLaren said: "We are committed to tackling serious and organised and will persistently pursue those who set out to cause harm and misery to our communities.
"By working in collaboration with key partners the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce has already had notable success in detecting and disrupting a number of organised crime groups and crime types.
This has also included a range of activities to divert people away from becoming involved in serious and organised crime
"We cannot and will not become complacent in our efforts and through the SOC Taskforce we will continue to identify those involved in organised crime, dismantle their operations and bring them before the courts
Major banks operating in Scotland who have signed up to the Banking Protocol include Barclays Bank, Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale, Nationwide, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, TSB Bank.
The Serious Organised Crime Taskforce was established in 2007 and has 13 members with more supporting the work taken forward by the Taskforce’s four Strand subgroups.
The progress report outlines the nature and scope of organised crime in Scotland, where there were a total of 112 serious organised crime groups made up of around 2,400 people (as at the end of March 2019). Seventy-two per cent of SOCGs are located in the West of Scotland, 18% in the East and 10 % in the North.
Sixty-nine per cent of SOCGs are involved in drugs crime, 72% are involved in the use of seemingly legitimate businesses. The most common being licensed premises, taxis, restaurants, shops, garage repairs and vehicle maintenance and property development.
As at September 2019 there were 205 individuals, linked to 68 separate crime groups, held in prison custody .